Burusho - Sociopolitical Organization

Burusho society contains five classes: the Thamo (royal Family); the Uyongko/Akabirting (those who may occupy offices of state); the Bar/Bare/Sis (land cultivators); the Shadarsho (servants); and the Baldakuyo/Tsilgalasho (bearers of burdens for the Thamo and Uyongko). The Bericho (Indian blacksmiths and musicians), who maintain their own customs and speak their own language (Kumaki), are also an important part of Burusho social structure. Age and gender stratification do not obtain among the Burusho.

The head of state is the mir, whose authority in all matters is absolute. He is assisted in the dispatch of his duties by a grand vizier. Mirs are responsible for the distribution of justice as well as the maintenance of local customs and tribal festivals. A village arbob (chief) and chowkidar (sergeant at arms) are appointed for each village. Khalifas are appointed by the mir to preside at important occasions in the life of the individual and the community. It has been noted that at one time retainers to certain villagers were paid by the British government for occasional services and that certain officials within a village were charged with the care of visitors.

The threat of deportation (for the purpose of engaging in public service to the mir or for the completion of public works) and the imposition of fines are the primary means of maintaining social control. External relations between the Burusho and other peoples have been stable. Intervillage rivalry is channeled nonviolently into polo matches. Although the attitudes of the Burusho toward their neighbors in Nagir are less than friendly, armed conflict is far from normal. Both Hunza and Nagir supported the military action that led to the annexation of the region to Pakistan.

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